Wales

RAF jet named after Caernarfon world war hero Lionel Rees

Lionel Rees Image copyright RAF
Image caption Lionel Rees received the Victoria Cross after single-handedly taking on 10 enemy aircraft

A jet will be named after one of Britain's earliest fighter aces at RAF Valley on Anglesey on Friday.

Group Captain Lionel Rees, from Caernarfon, who was awarded the Victoria Cross, is being honoured for achievements in World War One and Two.

It is the first time an RAF aircraft has been named after a person since the 1960s.

A flypast will take place over Caernarfon following the ceremony at Valley.

Gp Cpt Rees joined 11 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in early 1915 and went on to become the first Officer Commanding of 32 Squadron.

He received the Victoria Cross for his actions on 1 June 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, after single-handedly taking on 10 enemy aircraft.

He died in 1955, aged 71.

Image copyright SAC Nathan Edwards RAF Photographer
Image caption It is the first time an RAF aircraft has been named after a person since the late 1960s

A BAe 146 aircraft from 32 Squadron now bears Gp Cpt Rees' name.

His son, Olvin Rees, said: "We have three generations of our family attending the RAF event, travelling from the Bahamas and the USA, and we are all extremely honoured and excited that my father is being recognised in this way.

"We know that naming an RAF aircraft after a person is something that happens rarely, so this makes this really special.

"My father was always a proud Welshman, so it's amazing that all this is happening in north Wales.

"As a family, going around Caernarfon, where he was born, and looking at places connected to our family is incredible and we are very grateful to the RAF for what they have done."

The event is being supported by the Air Historical Branch which is putting on a special display of Gp Cpt Rees' life in Caernarfon.

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